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Host Reno Collier talks about NBC's new 'Great American Road Trip'

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/02/2009 

Host Reno Collier said the families competing on NBC's upcoming Great American Road Trip reality series cared more about avoiding elimination so they could continue their vacations rather than winning the show's still-unannounced monetary prize.

"As the show went on and I watched it, the money kind of wasn't even a part of it.  Everybody wanted to finish the vacations, and I don't know if that's because of the way the economy is," Collier told reporters during a Wednesday conference call.  "Most people can't afford right now to get an RV and travel Route 66 with their family and let them get to see basically the entire country.  So that kind of became the heart of the show, more than money.  Not many people really talked about money.  It was really the trip."

"If they thought they were going to lose, they were like, 'Ah, our vacation's over.'  It wasn't really like, 'We're going to win $10 million and we've got to get that money and we'll backstab everybody to get it.'  It was more the families trying to work together to continue on their vacation and get to the end."

Over the course of eight episodes, seven diverse families will travel through large and small cities while competing against each other in challenges that are set against iconic American backdrops including the Grand Canyon and Washington Monument, as well as more obscure tourist destinations such as the World's Largest Chair and a sneaker the size of a car.

"They're all different," said Collier about the families.  "The families come from every region of the country.  Some of them are really excited, some of them are kind of laid back.  It was a great group as far as it's not a bunch of weirdos.  It's not just out-of-control people.  It's real families."

While it might seem obvious to compare Great American Road Trip to CBS' long-running The Amazing Race reality series -- particularly the widely-panned The Amazing Race: Family Edition which aired in 2005 -- Collier said the two are completely different animals.

"There's no race.  It's not timed.  People don't have to get from Point A to Point B in any period of time," explained Collier. 

"Honestly, it took us forever.  It was the opposite of [The Amazing Race].  When you watch it you'll see, some of these people are driving an RV, they've never driven a van before and these RVs are huge.  So it was actually letting people have time to take their time and enjoy what they see along the road as opposed to speeding through everything."

In addition, Collier said having inexperienced RV drivers speeding across the country isn't the safest idea.

"It would be illegal to take families and put them in an RV and say, 'Drive as fast as you can!'" he said.  "But just because of the way other shows are, it was like, 'Oh, they have to be racing.'  But we went really slow.  It wasn't a race at all."

Collier said his favorite part of Great American Road Trip is that the families were "forced to get along" since they were traveling without cell phones, video games and portable television.

"My favorite part was watching them come together," he said.  "When I thought they would explode and actually come apart, they actually got closer together."

Great American Road Trip will premiere Tuesday, July 7 at 8PM ET/PT.

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